FOR SPARROW received more great news this week. Named the 2017 New Apple Medalist for Literary Erotica, it’s now also a Golden Flogger Nominee for Best BDSM Book of the Year.
The third Dream Dominant novel, it’s the story of new widow Jessi Crenshaw and her unconventional relationship with hot Dominant firefighter paramedic, Judd Farris.
When Jessi’s husband Graham dies unexpectedly, she’s shocked to find out that he made provision for her, asking his friend Judd to step in as a surrogate Dom until Jessi is back on her feet.
A platonic Dom/sub relationship is a damn odd arrangement, and they find their mutual attraction growing. Could it be that Graham had something more permanent in mind?
It was 9:30 on Saturday morning when Judd pulled up in front of Jessi’s house in his beat-up F-150. His main focus today was to fix the driveway gate that opened onto the street. It had apparently been rusted open for the last few years.
That was his main focus. Then there was the other thing. He rolled his eyes and tried to mentally prepare himself for Jessi’s reaction. He breathed out sharply. “Here goes nothing,” he muttered.
It was about half an hour later that Jessi glanced out her front window and noticed Judd on a ladder at the end of her driveway.
“What the…?” She marched out the front door and down the driveway.
“Excuse me,” she said, feeling like she was stuck in a time warp to the previous week. At least she hadn’t awakened on the pool deck. And a quick glance down confirmed that she was indeed dressed.
“Good morning, Jessi,” Judd answered, swinging down off the ladder. He couldn’t help noticing that she looked much more put together today, dressed in a green sleeveless top and jeans that fit oh, so right, her auburn hair shining in the sun. “It’s a beautiful day. You look nice, all dressed and everything.” He grinned at her.
“Yes, well, be that as it may,” she said blushing. “Is this supposed to be an ‘every Saturday’ kind of thing?”
“No, not every Saturday.” He shook his head. “I’m working next Saturday so I’ll be here on Friday next week.”
Jessi crossed her arms in front of her. “Look. Judd. I don’t mean to seem ungrateful. But I’m just not comfortable with you being over here, working on my property like this.”
He squinted at her thoughtfully. “Not comfortable. Why not?”
His question surprised her. “Well…just…because,” she spluttered.
His grin was accompanied by a twinkle of amusement in his brown eyes. “No worries, Jessi. I’ll be finished with your gate soon.” As he turned to climb the ladder again, there was a small yipping sound from around the hedge.
Curious, Jessi moved closer. In a small grey plastic corral made of some kind of toddler barrier, a brown and white puppy with long floppy ears looked up at Jessi, tail wagging furiously.
“Well, hello there, cutie,” she said. Glancing up at Judd she said, “You brought your dog?”
Judd climbed back down again. “It’s kind of complicated,” he said. He reached in and lifted the puppy out of the corral, cradling him in his arms. “Look at this face,” he cooed to the puppy.
He turned to Jessi. “A friend of mine called me from the animal shelter, said they had a litter of beagle puppies that needed homes. When I got down there, this little guy was the only one left. If I didn’t take him, they were going to have to put him down.”
Jessi looked at him, aghast. “I know,” he agreed to her silent protest. “I had to take him. The only thing is,” he looked at her with soft brown eyes, “I work twenty-four hour shifts at the station, sometimes back to back. I can’t take care of a puppy.”
“At the station?”
“Fire station. I’m a paramedic.”
“Oh. I didn’t know that.”
“Anyway, I was sort of hoping…” He looked at her meaningfully.
Jessi raised a hand in front of her. “Oh, no, no way. I can’t have a puppy.”
Friendly smile in place, he handed off the puppy to her quickly and went back up the ladder. “Why not?”
She hugged the dog to her chest and swayed as if he were an infant. “Well, just…I can’t, that’s all.”
“Why not? You work regular hours, right? You have enough room for him.” Judd glanced down at her. “If you can’t, I’ll have to take him back to the shelter and they’ll put him down.”
Jessi looked back down at the puppy and he licked her chin. “Well, nobody’s going to put you down. He can stay.” She looked back up at Judd. “For now. But remember, he’s yours. What’s his name, anyway?”
Judd grinned. “Buddy. His name is Buddy.”
“Well come on, Buddy. Let’s see if we can find you something to eat,” Jessi cooed as she made her way back into the house.
“I’ve got some puppy kibble in my truck. I’ll bring it to your door when I finish with the gate.” Out of the corner of his eye, he watched her walk away making baby talk to the puppy.
He laughed to himself. That was not as hard as I thought it would be.